Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About Car Accident Recoveries

Doubt, uncertainty, and confusion can quickly cause painful situations to escalate into catastrophic traumas. Personal experience has taught us that when an accident victim allows his concerns to overwhelm his determination for justice, he neither gets relief nor justice. This is why we feel that getting answers to your injury questions are extremely important not only to relieve stress, but also to build a stronger injury claim. Allow us to address your concerns and come see for yourself how a simple answer can make a difference.

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  • How much is my auto accident case worth?

    It is very difficult to assess the value of an injury claim right after an accident.  That’s because we don’t know how serious the injuries are, nor do we know how much medical treatment our client is going to need.  What we can tell you is that the value of most cases comes from three components: the amount of your medical bills, your lost wages, and an additional amount for pain and suffering.  The medical treatment needs to be reasonable and necessary, and if you have lost wages, your disability needs to be documented by your doctor and the missed earnings need to be documented by your employer.  It is very difficult to place a specific dollar amount on your pain and suffering.  Both the insurance company and your attorney will estimate this value based on their expectation of how a jury would value your pain and suffering if your case ever went to trial.

  • How long do I have to file a claim after a car accident in Georgia?

    Your time to file a Georgia traffic injury claim is already ticking awayAlthough it lasts only a moment, a car crash is a scary experience that often has consequences that can affect victims for weeks, months, and years to come. In addition to the physical and emotional healing that has to occur, victims often also have to deal with legal and insurance issues that result from the accident.

    Though it can be frustrating—even overwhelming—to address those matters while still recovering from an accident, state laws and insurance company policy provisions establish time limits for victims to make their claims. These time limits seek to promote timely filings and eliminate the threat of litigation to the involved parties after some substantial amount of time. Victims must be mindful of these timeframes to ensure they can obtain the compensation they deserve after a car accident.

    How Does a Statute of Limitation Apply to Georgia Car Accident Cases?

    Legal statutes of limitation specify how long a victim has to file a lawsuit against the responsible party. In Georgia, statutes of limitation can vary, depending on the nature of the case. For car accident cases, victims typically have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. For claims against counties, cities, or the State of Georgia, there are also time limitations within which you must provide notice to of your claim in order to maintain your right to file suit within the two year statute of limitation. The notice requirement for claims against these entities are as follows:

    • Georgia counties: Victims are required to present their claims within 12 months of their injury.  
       
    • Georgia cities: Claims against a city require written notice within 6 months of the date of injury.  The notice must specify the time, place, and extent of the injury, as well as the negligence which caused the injury.
       
    • State of Georgia: Notice of a claim must be provided in writing within 12 months of injury, and sent by certified mail or statutory overnight delivery, return receipt requested, or delivered personally to and a receipt obtained from the Risk Management Division of the Department of Administrative Services. 

    It is essential to meet these deadlines. Typically, the court will refuse to hear your claim if it is filed outside the statute of limitation or you fail to meet the notice requirement if your claim is against a government entity, eliminating any chance you may have of obtaining justice or compensation. 

    Insurance Companies Have Their Own Deadlines After an Accident

    In addition to strictly legal considerations, insurance companies often have their own rules about how and when to file a claim. This can be true for both medical insurance and auto insurance companies. Many car insurance companies require notification within 24 hours of the accident.

    Though Georgia is a fault state, meaning victims can pursue compensation from the at-fault party’s insurance company, some additional factors to consider after your accident:

    • Vehicle damage. Opposing insurance companies will typically dispute auto accident claims as much as possible. However, if your vehicle was significantly damaged in the accident, you may need a rental car or a company to authorize repairs; your own insurance company may be able to do this for you while you are waiting on the responsible party.
       
    • Uninsured motorists. If the party responsible for your accident does not have adequate insurance coverage, you may be forced to file a claim with your own insurance company. You should notify your insurance company as soon as possible following an accident of a potential uninsured motorist claim.
       
    • Medical expenses. Medical care is expensive, and the bills can begin to pile up quickly. Notifying your insurance company quickly may help offset some of the costs and help you avoid mounting debt.

    Act Quickly to Achieve the Most Favorable Outcome

    If you’ve been injured in a car accident, pursuing legal action as quickly as possible will give you the best chance at success. Even though it may be difficult and overwhelming to consider your legal options while still recovering from the physical and emotional wounds of the accident, it is necessary. The sooner you retain representation and file a claim, the more evidence can be collected and preserved. It can be more difficult to demonstrate to the court that you deserve compensation for your injuries as time passes. Swift action also ensures your claim is filed within the statute of limitations and can be heard by the court if necessary.

    Free guide for car accident victims in Georgia

    If you or someone you love has suffered injuries in a Georgia car accident, don’t wait to seek legal help. Call the Atlanta law office of Rechtman & Spevak today at 888-522-7798 to learn more about your rights and schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.
     

  • What kind of compensation can I obtain after a car accident?

    There are several categories of compensation available for car accident lossesThe time after a car accident can be very difficult. Many times, victims are faced with the physical pain of injuries, the mounting pressure of medical and household bills, and the emotional stress that can follow a crash. Fortunately, the law provides an outlet for the injured to obtain compensation and ensure their physical care and financial stability. Victims in car accident cases can seek compensation to cover…

    • Medical costs. Victims can be compensated for any medical costs related to the accident. This includes medications, hospitalizations, doctors’ appointments, therapy, and necessary modifications to the home or vehicle.
       
    • Future medical costs. In some cases, the injury sustained in the accident can develop into a larger health issue or is severe enough to require long-term care. Compensation can be obtained to cover future treatments, therapies, and other necessities related to medical care.
       
    • Lost wages. Often, the injuries suffered in an accident prevent a victim from working. It can be difficult for a family to maintain their lifestyle without that income. Victims are entitled to reimbursement for earnings lost due to the accident, as well as for permanent disabilities that will limit future earning capacity.
       
    • Property damage. If your car or any belongings are damaged in the accident, the cost of repairing or replacing the item can be covered.
       
    • Pain and suffering. Victims can be awarded compensation for physical and emotional pain they experience after an accident. These damages can include stress and anxiety, as well as future physical pain stemming from the accident injuries.
       

    There is a wide range of compensation that is available for accident victims. Every case is unique, and money is awarded based on the specific circumstances of each case.

    Insurance companies will try to minimize the amount they pay out, so victims should be careful after an accident. Don’t discuss any aspect of the case with insurance representatives without first speaking to an auto accident attorney. A skilled lawyer can help victims protect their rights and seek the maximum amount of compensation.

    If you or someone you love suffered injuries in a car accident, the lawyers at Rechtman & Spevak may be able to secure you the compensation you deserve. Call our Atlanta office today at 888-522-7798 to learn more and schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.

  • If I was injured in a crash caused by municipal negligence, do I have any legal options?

    Car accidents happen all the time. In most cases, one driver makes a poor decision and causes a crash with another vehicle. In these incidents, if injuries occur, it is usually clear exactly who is responsible.

    However, what happens when an accident is caused by a condition on or near the roadway? Even in single-vehicle accidents, the driver may not be the one to blame. In some situations, municipal government negligence can lead to serious crashes, causing damage to property and inflicting injuries on drivers and passengers. Though these cases are more difficult to prove, victims do have legal options to pursue justice and obtain compensation against the government entity responsible for keeping up the road.

    You may have a legal claim against municipal government if poor pavement maintenance has led to your injuryWhat Is Municipal Negligence?

    Municipal negligence—as it applies to car crashes—is the notion that a city, state, township, or other government entity did not act with reasonable care in maintaining, marking, or designing roads. Just as drivers are expected to exercise caution and care for the safety of other drivers, municipalities are also expected to create and maintain roadways that are safe when used in the expected manner.

    Some examples of municipal negligence include…

    • Lack of appropriate road signs or warnings of danger
    • Lack of guard rails
    • Potholes
    • Unmarked or unsafe construction zones
    • Poorly designed roadway
    • Dangerous shoulder drop off
    • Uneven pavement

    Proving Municipal Negligence in a Georgia Court

    In many ways, bringing a lawsuit against a municipality is similar to pursuing a case against a private citizen. Certain factors must exist to mount a successful case. While it can be more difficult to win a suit against a city or county, the basic concepts remain the same. The victim must show that:

    • The responsible government entity did not exercise reasonable care in its maintenance, marking, or design of the road.
       
    • The responsible entity knew or should reasonably have known that the danger existed.
       
    • Its inaction led directly to the accident and injury of the victim.


    In short, municipalities cannot be held accountable for poor weather conditions or situations they could not have known about to address. If a sinkhole appears in a roadway and causes an accident minutes later, the municipality cannot be held responsible. In that situation, it would have no way of knowing about the problem, and thus not have the ability to fix it or warn people of the danger in that time frame. On the other hand, if a roadway has been eroding over time and many drivers complained about the hazardous conditions, the municipality may be held accountable if it did not complete a timely repair or post warnings to prepare drivers.

    Difficulties in Municipal Negligence Cases

    It can be difficult to bring an injury lawsuit against a government entity. While the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit on an injury claim in Georgia is two years from the date of accident, there is an additional requirement of having to provide notice of the claim to the government entity. Depending on whether the defendant is a city, county, or the state of Georgia, the notice period varies between six and twelve months.  The form of the notice is regulated by statute, and if you fail to comply with all elements of the notice requirement, you may lose the right to maintain a lawsuit against the responsible party.

    Additionally, government entities are often protected by what is known as sovereign immunity. Sovereign immunity is meant to protect the government and its officials from constant litigation when constituents are unhappy with its operations. However, in some cases, negligence in maintaining, designing, or marking a roadway creates an exception to this rule.

    Similar to other personal injury cases, the victim of a potential municipal negligence case might be forced to defend his actions at the time of the accident. The courts may determine that the victim shares some amount of responsibility for the crash, and if that is the case, it could affect his or her ability to sue and receive a potential settlement or judgment.

    An experienced and skilled attorney can help victims understand the laws concerning municipal negligence, based on what type of government agency is responsible for their accident and injuries. If you are unsure as to whether your accident falls into this category, contact the experienced car accident lawyers at Rechtman & Spevak. Take a moment to fill out our online contact form, and you’ll receive a prompt response from a member of our team who can answer your questions and help you learn more about your rights. You may also call our Atlanta office at 888-522-7798.

  • Is it okay to talk to an insurance company after my car accident?

    Shortly after an accident, your phone may start ringing. The insurance company who covers the other person involved in your accident will likely contact you seeking all sorts of information.

    Be very cautious when talking to an insurance adjuster after your accident

    An important fact to remember when this happens is that the insurance adjuster is not working for you. Even if you are an honest, fair person and you feel you have a solid claim, the adjuster is out to protect the interests of the insurance company and minimize any money they might have to pay. He may seem friendly and understanding on the phone, but he will certainly use any information he is able to learn from you to his company’s advantage if possible.

    Sometimes, it is difficult to avoid these calls. If you find yourself on the other end of the line with the opposing insurance adjuster, follow these helpful tips to protect your rights and preserve your claim.

    DON’T…

    • Discuss your medical care. Do not elaborate on your injuries. It is possible that you will not fully understand the nature of your injuries until later, so do not offer details that could hurt your case in the future. If pressed, tell the adjuster you simply do not know the full nature of your injuries and that you are seeking medical treatment.
       
    • Give details of the accident. The adjuster can find the basic information from police reports or his own insured driver. Do not offer your version of events to the adjuster at this time.
       
    • Sign anything. Never sign anything, no matter what the adjuster says. This applies to a medical release as well as documents related to fault. If you sign a medical release, the insurance company will have free reign to examine the full scope of your medical history, and may try to use your past medical records against you.

    DO…

    • Be polite. You may be feeling angry about the accident or suffering from the physical consequences of the crash, but taking your frustration out on an insurance company representative will not help. The adjuster will play a role in your case, so it is best to stay on civil terms.
       
    • Remain vague. Offer the adjuster only basic information, such as your name, address, and birthdate. You may share the minimum details about the accident. Where it occurred, what day and time, and what vehicle you were driving.
       
    • Identify the person to whom you are speaking. Take note of the date and time of the call, the name of the insurance company, the name of the representative, and how to contact him if necessary. Make sure to keep your notes.
       
    • Tell the adjuster to contact your attorney if further information is necessary. It is a good idea to only talk to insurance companies in the presence of an experienced accident attorney. The attorney can help you understand what information can and should be shared and when.
       

    In some cases, such as in accidents where the at-fault driver is uninsured, the victim may have to pursue a claim with his own insurance company. Victims are required to cooperate more fully with their own companies, so you may have to offer more information to the adjuster in those situations. A skilled attorney can help victims understand their rights and obligations and make decisions on how best to move forward.

    If you or someone you love has suffered injuries in an auto accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Take a moment to fill out our online contact form, and a member of the legal team at Rechtman & Spevak will help you learn more about how to proceed after an accident.

  • What are the minimum car insurance requirements in Georgia?

    Car insurance in GeorgiaEvery state sets different rules about car insurance—rules about fault, minimum insurance limits, and penalties for failure to comply with the laws. The state of Georgia is no different. Drivers are required to carry insurance to cover any property damage or personal injury that may occur in a car accident. Georgia is a fault state, meaning that blame is assigned after an accident and the party responsible for the crash must pay for the damage. Auto insurance covers these costs, up to a certain limit.

    The state requires every vehicle to carry minimum coverage. In Georgia, the state mandates:

    • Bodily injury liability:  $25,000 per person. $50,000 for multiple people in an accident.
    • Property damage liability:  $25,000 for one incident.


    Bodily injury liability covers the injuries suffered by a person in an accident. It could cover medical expenses, lost income, as well as pain and suffering. Property damage liability provides compensation for the damage done to another person’s property, such as a car, bicycle, mailbox, home, and more.

    These amounts are the minimum amounts required by Georgia law, though many drivers elect to purchase larger policies in order to further protect themselves from the possibility of personal financial responsibility in the case of a serious accident. Drivers who fail to secure the appropriate levels of insurance can be penalized. Uninsured motorists are subject to fines, the loss of driving privileges, and the revocation of vehicle registration. Driving an unregistered vehicle is a misdemeanor in Georgia.

    Additional Coverage Available to Georgia Motorists

    State law requires only bodily injury and property damage coverage, though many drivers opt to purchase additional insurance to offer further protection from accidents. Most insurers also offer policies that cover:

    • Medical payments. This coverage can provide payment for medical expenses due to injuries as a result of an accident.
    • Collision. Collision coverage can pay for the replacement or repairs to a vehicle after a crash.
    • Comprehensive insurance. This coverage offers protection from damages or losses not related to road accidents, such as theft or weather damage.
    • Uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance. If a driver with no insurance or not enough insurance is at fault for an accident, this coverage can cover the expenses related to the accident.


    If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation, even if the driver responsible doesn’t have auto insurance. Call the experienced lawyers at Rechtman & Spevak at 888-522-7798 to learn more about your options and find out what we can do to help, and download our FREE book, The Ultimate Guide to Accident Cases in Georgia.